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Baccarat Strategy

Rather than get your hopes up and tell you there is a little-known secret and strategy to playing baccarat, I will tell you right off the bat that no card strategy can be used to successfully lower the House Edge at baccarat. And even though the game does resemble blackjack in several regards, not even card-counting is worth the effort. If you must insist on doing something, you can bet on the Bank Hand rather than the Player Hand since it provides a lower House Edge.

The Player Hand delivers a Casino Edge of 1.36%, while the Banker Hand by itself actually delivers a Player's Edge of 1.36%. Obviously this would not be a favorable situation for the casino, which is why they tack on a 5% commission on the Banker Hand. Even so, that brings the Casino Edge to only 1.17%. The edge can get even lower if you do not make tie bets, which actually have a Casino Edge of over 14%. The tie bet can be tempting since it pays 8 to 1. However, the correct odds on a tie bet are 9.5 to 1, which makes this a risky bet.

If you are going by the numbers, the best thing to do would be bet on the Banker's Hand. Whether you bet on it every single time will not matter if you are only making a short run. If you plan to be at the table for a long time, you will benefit more from betting on the Bank Hand all of the time. The only thing else you can do is wish for luck and be a responsible baccarat gambler. This entails keeping track of all your bets - earnings and losses. Most land-based casinos provide pens with small pads of grid paper (called score cards) that lets players keep track of runs. Although there is no mathematical basis behind the theory of runs, which basically tries to predict hand outcome patterns, some baccarat players swear by it.

If you so choose, you can do the same when gambling in the online casino. Simply draw as many columns and intersecting rows as you can on a scrap piece of paper. One of the easiest ways to mark it is by taking two columns at a time and marking one with the letter B when the Bank Hand wins and the other with the letter P when the Player Hand wins. Keep marking down these two columns until the both hands alternate winning more than once. For example, if the Bank Hand wins twice in a row, you would mark a B in two consecutive vertical squares of the first column. Now that the third series of hands is a winner for the Player, you would mark a P in the second column, third block down. Keep marking P's in this column so long as the Player Hand keeps winning. However, once the winning hand alternates back to the Bank, mark a B at the top of a new column, using the next empty adjacent column for marking another run of Player Hands. As for spotting patterns in the cards themselves, most players would advise not to do so.

Also, be aware of when it is a good time to quit. Players seem to think that baccarat is an easy game to win at since its structure and rules are so simple, while not taking into consideration the Law of Probability, which never guarantees a hand outcome - one way or another. All in all, keep your betting stake as low as possible, while betting on the Bank Hand most of the time.

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